Instagram has lost its sharp edge

We call it 'strategic drift'.

Instagram's ("Instant camera" + "telegram") value offering used to crystal clear - 'share your photos, that have been made a bit better with a small selection of photo editing tools, with friends.'

It was simple and easy and because of that, Instagram became a massive global brand. It was sold a long time ago to Facebook (now Meta) for $1 billion - a valuation, which at that time, was unheard of.

Increasingly though, people are turning away from Instagram.

Some because their mental balance is negatively affected by the armies of airbrushed influencers with seemingly perfect lives that have infected the platform, and for others, because Instagram itself has diluted its razor sharp brand focus.

As competitors like Snapchat and TikTok have entered the competitive marketplace, Instagram has strayed from its original strategic position; now seemingly trying to be everything to everyone, while at the same time bowing very low down to demanding commercial interests.

The brand has become a victim of its own success.

Now the influencers themselves are starting to revolt.

Kylie Jenner is demanding that the brand, “MAKE INSTAGRAM INSTAGRAM AGAIN" and industry pundits constantly mock the network for simply copying anything that their rivals create.

We call this 'strategic drift' - a phenomena where a once tight and coherent brand focus gets diluted due to poor strategic management.

For any brand, strategic drift is a constant force that needs to be acknowledged and efforts need to be made to sweep away the loose choices and decisions that inevitably creep into a maturing brand continuum over time.

It's obviously tempting to want to stay in line with where your competitors are benchmarking the marketplace, but what's critical is to not adopt innovations that weaken the core brand identity as a result.

Strategy is after all about decisions and trade-offs; that's what makes it so difficult, because weighing up the alternatives and picking a narrow path towards the future is an incredibly hard thing to do.

Instagram have got some work to do - it'll be interesting to see if they take the feedback from some of their most important 'customers' seriously.

Instagram Was Already Terrible. Now It’s Unusable.
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